Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
Licence needed for work use Learn More

Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 

Bring Back the Red Admiral!

What’s red, and rarer than a ruru?

It’s also an endemic species… unique to New Zealand.

The answer is our beautiful red admiral butterfly.

Most Aucklanders don’t remember the red admiral which was common in Auckland Tāmaki Makaurau before the turn of the century.

“This species is only located in New Zealand and was once widespread,” said Jacqui Knight from the Moths and Butterflies of New Zealand Trust (MBNZT). “It seemed to disappear about the time the painted apple moth was discovered in Auckland when the city was sprayed with insecticide to eradicate the pest. Development and the loss of our wild spaces also means that now the beautiful butterfly is a very infrequent visitor.”

There are other red admirals in the world, but the NZ red admiral, in Te Reo ‘kahukura’ (meaning “red cloak”) is definitely the most beautiful.

“It’s as much a part of NZ as our kiwi and kauri, but it seems to have been gone and forgotten here over the past twenty years.”

The MBNZT’s Auckland members have plans to change that.

“We are campaigning this summer to increase awareness of this species and to encourage more people to plant nectar flowers and the butterfly’s host plant,” she said. “While few people are brave enough to plant Urtica ferox, the tree nettle or ongaonga, the host plant on which the species lays its eggs, they can still support the campaign by providing more nectar flowers in their gardens.”

“The butterflies, of course, are pollinators and both the adults and the caterpillars are a valuable ingredient in the diet of our native birds. If we are successful in bringing the red admirals back to Auckland, undoubtedly our birds will benefit too.”

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

The campaign has been helped by a grant from Foundation North. Additional funds will mean that a small group of lepidopterists can visit neighbouring regions to bring a number of caterpillars or eggs back into the city to create the foundation population.

Brian Patrick, Biodiversity advisor to the MBNZT, is keen to support the initiative.

“In Canterbury and Otago, the butterfly is not so rare because of the large number of host plants growing in the wild,” he said. “But the South Island butterflies are not well adapted to Auckland’s climate. By collecting some from Northland or the Waikato to establish the population they will have a better chance of survival.”

Graeme Hill, Auckland writer and radio host, has been breeding admirals for many years in his city garden.

“People can help by controlling the predatory and parasitic wasps,” he said. “Especially the paper wasps and Vespula species, pests that have arrived in NZ and which are decimating our native butterflies.”

The MBNZT has the support of Kings Plant Barns in Auckland, who stock a good range of flowering plants to encourage butterflies into gardens.

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Gordon Campbell: On National Spreading Panic About The Economy


It is a political strategy as old as time. Scare the public with tales of disaster and stampede them into supporting your ideological agenda because they believe There Is No Alternative. Yet, if the NZ economy truly is as “fragile” as PM Christopher Luxon says it is... Then how come New Zealand has enjoyed a double AA+ credit rating from the international rating agencies for so long? If we have truly been in the thrall of incompetent tax, spend and borrow extremists for the past six years, how come our net government debt burden is only in the middling average of OECD countries, and how come our government debt-to-GDP ratio – however you measure it – is less than half the average for the Asia-Pacific region?..
More


 
 


Labour: Grant Robertson To Retire From Parliament
Labour List MP and former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Grant Robertson will retire from Parliament next month, and later in the year take up the position of Vice Chancellor of the University of Otago... More

Government: Budget Will Be Delivered On 30 May

Plans to deliver tax relief to hard-working New Zealanders, rebuild business confidence, and restore the Crown’s finances to order will be unveiled on 30 May, says Nicola Willis... More

Government: Humanitarian Support For Gaza & West Bank

Winston Peters has announced NZ is providing a further $5M to respond to the extreme humanitarian need in Gaza and the West Bank. “The impact of the Israel-Hamas conflict on civilians is absolutely appalling," he said... More


Government: New High Court Judge Appointed

Judith Collins has announced the appointment of Wellington Barrister Jason Scott McHerron as a High Court Judge. Justice McHerron graduated from the University of Otago with a BA in English Literature in 1994 and an LLB in 1996... More

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels


 
 
 
 

Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.